It’s a big month for Maggie Gyllenhaal: She just had a baby and has a new movie, Hysteria,due in May. (The actress, 34, and husband Peter Sarsgaard welcomed their second daughter, Gloria Ray, in mid-April.) The mom of two — big sister Ramona is 5 — talks to us about this “risqué” movie, motherhood and a secret talent.
Is it hard to balance work and motherhood?
“That’s constantly on my mind. When do I sacrifice? When do I ask the child to sacrifice? It’s really hard. I haven’t done that perfectly. I don’t think you really can. Peter said to me the other day, ‘How are either of us ever going to work?’ We haven’t quite figured out how this is going to work, but we will.”
Will you have more kids?
“I don’t know. I think I’ll start with two and see how it goes.”
Do you have a mom’s group in Brooklyn, where you live?
“Most of my girlfriends now have kids. I was pretty young when I had Ramona . I was the first of most of my friends and now all of them have lapped me. I think for me this was the way to do it. We’ll see how it goes.”
Your new movie – about the invention of the vibrator – is a quirky choice. What attracted you to the movie?
“I was curious how that could make for a movie. Honestly, the script was really excellent. The movie was very much like it, quick-witted and well-crafted. And I really like [her character]. She’s a whirlwind. I thought the thing to do with her was to let her be from another planet, as wild as possible.”
You’ve filmed an HBO pilot based on Jonathan Franzen’s best seller The Corrections. Did you read it before?
“I am a book reader, [but] I didn’t read it until they asked me to. I have a hard time reading anything that isn’t fiction, including the news. It’s easier for me sometimes to listen to it.”
Do you have a pile of books next to your bed that you try to get through?
“I’ve been finishing all of them for some reason. Pregnant, I’ve just been reading so much. Usually, I have one book I’m slogging through. You know what it was? Peter was away shooting a movie in L.A. He would come back and forth, but I would have a lot of my nights free because I’d be too tired to go out and meet a friend, but not tired enough to go to sleep at 8 o’clock. So I’d do a lot of reading.”
Are you reading them in book form or do you have an iPad or book reader?
“I have an iPad that I read on, but if I’m not traveling, I really prefer reading in the real book form. I feel like I’m looking at my phone all day.”
Are you a TV watcher?
“Peter and I both got into Enlightened. I love Laura Dern and the weird mix of people on that show. You know what else I love? Downton Abbey. I’m obsessed.”
Do you have hidden talents?
“I make really good salad dressing. Lemon, vinegar, salt and pepper. I think I’ve really mastered it.”
Is this the life you had planned when you were younger and imagining your future?
“So much when you’re growing up of what you imagine really is fantasy. So much about getting older and living your life is about finding the reality inside that’s very, very different than the fantasy.”
Does your brother [actor Jake Gyllenhaal] feel like he should be [having kids]?
“You have to ask him. He was pretty young  when I started. I had Ramona when I was 28, I liked that actually, although there was so much I didn’t know which I guess is true whenever you do it.”
Are you committed to raising your family in New York?
“I’ve been here since I was 17. [She was born in New York but raised in Los Angeles.] And I came to college here [she has a bachelor’s in English from Columbia University]. I lived in such a different way then, and I thought I’d be here forever, and anybody who left was wimping out. But now I think, ‘Wow, what a different life we could have if we lived in Northern California or anywhere. I dream about living in Paris. But now our daughter’s in school, happy, really got a life. I wouldn’t say I’ve found our home that we’re going to be in forever; we’re still figuring it out.”